LJUBLJANA, April 24 (Reuters) - Tourist overnight stays in Slovenia fell by 67.2% year-on-year in March due to the coronavirus epidemic, while arrivals of foreign tourist were down by 78.1%, the statistics office said on Friday.
Overnight stays fell by 23.1% year-on-year to 1.9 million in the first three months of the year.
Slovenia has so far reported 1373 coronavirus cases and 80 people have died. Since the middle of March it has closed all hotels, bars, restaurants and cultural institutions, cancelled all public transport, and prohibited any socialising in public spaces.
It has also introduced obligatory quarantine for people coming from abroad and prohibited Slovenian citizens to travel outside their local municipality.
The government had started lifting restrictions from Monday but has not said when bars, restaurants and hotels would reopen.
“Tourism will change from what we were used to so far. We are working on establishing new standards for hotel operations so as to enable guests and hotel employees to fell safe in the future,” Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek told a news conference on Friday.
Pocivalsek said about 72% of Slovenian tourism depends on foreign guests. Tourism accounts for about 12% of Slovenia’s GDP.
The Bank of Slovenia said in March GDP could this year fall by 6% to 16% due to coronavirus epidemics and its consequences after it expanded by 2.4% in 2019.
Slovenia offers Alpine, seaside, health resort and city tourism, with about 60% of the country being covered by forests. Most foreign tourists come from neighbouring Italy, Austria and Croatia.
The pandemic has thrown the travel and tourism industry into turmoil across the world. The European tourism industry is scrambling to salvage the summer season as lockdowns ease. .
Reporting By Marja Novak